One of the few times the DCEU managed to score a decisive victory over the MCU was in terms of representation, when Patty Jenkins became the first female filmmaker to make a big-budget superhero movie for the DCEU, 2017's Wonder Woman. But despite Jenkins' work on that movie being hailed as ground-breaking for female directors, she revealed in an interview with Marc Maron that initially, Warner Bros. only hired her in the position of a "token female" while other men did all the real work behind the scenes.
"[The studio] wanted to hire me like a beard; they wanted me to walk around on set as a woman, but it was their story and their vision. And my ideas? They didn't even want to read my script. There was such mistrust of a different way of doing things and a different point of view. So that was definitely happening, even when I first joined Wonder Woman it was like, 'uhh, yeah, ok, but let's do it this other way.' But I was like, 'Women don't want to see that. Her being harsh and tough and cutting people's heads off, that's not what- I'm a Wonder Woman fan, that's not what we're looking for. Still, I could feel that shaky nervousness [on their part] of my point of view."
Before Wonder Woman came along, female-led superhero movies were generally considered box-office poison, based on the performance of Halle Berry's Catwoman, Jennifer Garner's Elektra, and the failed Wonder Woman cable series starring Adrianne Palicki. According to Patty Jenkins, Warner was unsure about the direction to take with a Wonder Woman film, so much so that Jenkins left the project for a long time.
"They were nervous that it wasn't viable. They were all freaked out by all the female superhero films that had failed, the smaller ones that had failed, and also Christopher Nolan was making the Dark Knight thing, so I think they were just trying to figure out what they were doing with DC at that time. Finally, the moment came [when Warners wanted me to make the film]. And there was a moment they wanted to make a story that I wasn't the right person for, so I [left and] said, 'it can't be me,' and they hired someone else for a little bit. I told them what kind of film I wanted to make. I said, 'I don't think this is the story you should tell with Wonder Woman,' and I didn't want to be the one to get in a fight about it for years."
Finally, after much deliberation and second thoughts, Warner brought Jenkins back and allowed her to make the Wonder Woman film that she had always wanted to make. Now, the filmmaker is celebrating the success of the recently released Wonder Woman 1984 and preparing to make the third and final installment in the franchise as she had always planned.
Directed and co-written by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, and Natasha Rothwell. The film is currently in theaters and on HBO Max. This news originated at the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron.